Updated: Nov 21
Can I use psilocybin while on anti-depressants?
Many times we are asked if people can join a psilocybin ceremony while using anti-depressants. Good question! Let’s take a closer look. Recent years a lot of interesting scientific research on psilocybin has been published. We can imagine that if you feel depressed or even take doctors medication to dampen the brain activity, your interest is awake: You would like to know all about the beneficial effects of psilocybin to treat depression. So you start reading all the articles, testimonials, and test results that are available on the internet nowadays. Good for you! There might be another way to help yourself from mental suffering. And maybe psilocybin can teach you all about it!
The success story
The Berkley Foundation is on the forefront of scientific research into psychoactive substances, they have provided the first clinical evidence for the efficacy of psilocybin assisted psychotherapy to treat depression, even in cases where all other treatments have failed. Psilocybin increases the brain connectivity and the communication between brain networks, which allows people to use all senses onto a much deeper level. From there the participant starts a process of accepting, surrendering, confronting or understanding themselves. The results can be from feeling in general more connected, feeling more creative and inspired or for example feeling more motivated to care for yourself (and others).
As facilitators of psilocybin ceremonies we receive lots of questions from people who want to change from doctor’s medicines to psilocybin. Off course we know all about the beneficial effects of psilocybin on human beings. Not necessarily from a scientific point of view, but as field workers. We have guided for almost 20 years thousands of people in their psilocybin experiences. In these ceremonies you see the transformation happening and from our guest’s feedback we learn that these ceremonies are often life-changing experiences, it becomes an important turning point in someone’s life.
One trip to save your soul?
If you are really lucky, sincere and spirited about it, yes. But for most people it doesn’t work like that. Especially for people who are dealing with depression, being truly sincere and spirited is often a bridge too far. When the negative patterns are there for a long time already, it takes time and above all effort to grow new ways inside. But, from our experience major or small steps forward are made from the moment psilocybin enters your life with a healing-intention. We all know that set and setting are essential, how do you feel and what surrounds you. Our guests receive on forehand a clear and helpful preparation guide. A good preparation gives you an enormous head start and reduces the chance of having a negative experience significantly.
If you are using regular anti-depressive medicines and you would like to try if psilocybin could also work for you, we advise you make a solid plan on how to make the change. Despite all fantastic news on psilocybin’s benefits, we are very cautious at our center to let people who use anti-depressants enter our group ceremonies, because the combination with psilocybin can cause problems. Psilocybin changes the working of neuro-transmitters, anti-depressants do this as well. The risk is to over stimulate the system, something you want to avoid. Most prescribed medication are SSRI’s (for example sertraline, fluoxetine or citalopram). SSRI’s make sure that too much serotonin gets distracted from the brains, called the serotonin-syndrome, which can be fatal. Another reason we are cautious is that group ceremonies are in our opinion not the ideal setting for people who deal with tremendous trauma’s or need intensive care. These people are helped better in a more private setting. Nature Temple offers also space for individual sessions.
The roadmap from anti-depressants to a psilocybin journey
So, if you are sincere about trying psilocybin to treat your depression, you should be committed to a solid plan. Here we offer a roadmap on how to go from A to B to give you an idea of how to tackle the journey. Of course each situation is personal and needs a personal approach, therefore it is wise to find a good therapist who can guide you along the way for medical supervision.
Talk to your doctor/psychiatrist about your idea and ask if he/she is aware of psilocybin treatments. Most doctors/psychiatrists are not, don’t blame them, they just didn’t learn this during their education because research on psychedelics has been forbidden or restricted for many years. Never make big decisions on your own, if your therapist is not open for your psilocybin theories, find a therapist who is.
Together with the doctor/therapist you make a plan for decreasing your medication. Depending on the dosage you take in combination with your personal situation this will take weeks to months.
If all went well and you are clean from the medicines, you can start micro-dosing psilocybin. Eating tiny little bits of psilocybin on a regular base does have effects on your system but isn’t interfering with your daily tasks. During this period of micro-dosing you keep in contact with your therapist, so he/she is kept updated about your progress or problems you might encounter.
On the moment you and your doctor agree that solid progression has been achieved and you feel confident about your new situation for some time, you are ready for a psilocybin ceremony with a higher dosage. In the cases where people have been using medication for many years, we are now at least one year further.
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